October 23, 2023 — The pet food business is getting “personal” as pet parents prioritize the health of their companions as much as their own and buy healthier, more premium ingredients with functional advantages.
Over 80% of pet owners in Europe and the US rate their pet’s health as important or very important when buying pet food, and over 80% read the ingredients list, according to a survey conducted by Symrise.
Speaking of First the nutritional ingredientsErica Franco, Corbion’s global marketing and communications manager, explains the company’s foray into pet nutrition.
“Conservation is and always has been an important business aspect for us,” she notes, “which means we work to protect the environment, human and animal health.”
Humanization of animals
If you think about how pets affect people’s quality of life, owners are emotionally attached to their pets, and the impact a pet can have on someone’s life is huge in that sense, Franco commented.
“Consumers see them as part of their family, and we’re seeing consumers appreciate and think about natural ingredients, something that’s healthy, something that’s sustainable, not only for them, but for their pets as well.”
This has opened the door to possibilities and opportunities to improve pet nutrition, she stresses, adding that while “people want the best for themselves, they also want the best for their animal family members.”
According to Franco, these trends are prevalent “all over the world.” Interestingly, demand is also rising in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan, Europe and the US.
In line with market trends, Corbion recently launched its AlgaPrime DHA P3 ingredient, an algae-based omega-3 rich ingredient with the highest concentration of DHA with natural antioxidants on the market.
Not only do algae-based omega-3s promote pet health and wellness both physically and mentally, but they also reduce reliance on fish oil—a limited natural resource and the most common source of omega-3s in pet food favorites.
Produced through precision fermentation and powered by renewable energy and cane sugar as feedstock, Corbion’s latest innovative ingredient, AlgaPrime DHA P3, offers sustainable, high-quality DHA for pets, helping to advance diets without impacting carbon imprint.
“The ingredient was successfully developed using precision fermentation, Franco tells us. “We’ve been fermenting things for over 100 years. We are a major producer of lactic acid globally and we are looking for new ways to innovate,” she explains. “We saw a gap in the market for omega trends, and one of the solutions was to ferment algae.”
“If you look at traditional omega-3 supplies, the most common sources in the world are fish oil or butter. Unfortunately, with climate change, we are seeing a decline in these fish-based omegas, which is putting pressure on the industry, ultimately forcing us to find alternatives.
It should be noted that these alternatives are plant-based derivatives: algae-based omega-3s, she shares. “We needed better ways to access omega-3s, which are critical to human and animal health.”
The benefits go beyond just physical health, notes Franco.
“In puppies, Corbion has seen improvements in cognitive ability, meaning that by supplementing with AlgaPrime DHA P3, puppies show that they learn faster, train faster, etc. In adult dogs, this population is increasing because the species lives longer because their owners invest in their health, and also DHA can help with cognitive abilities in dogs at this stage of life, she commented.
Using the app and beyond
AlgaPrime DHA P3 offers approximately twice the omega-3 levels of fish oil included in typical pet food. It is suitable for a variety of applications for pet food manufacturers, including dry, wet and injection molding.
“This means there is great flexibility for different applications and we also have the option to add other ingredients that offer a range of other health benefits, such as antioxidants, micronutrients and functional lipids,” explains Franco.
Corbion works with different types of algae to strengthen its position in animal and human health.
The company has a library of 9,000 species of algae, “in nature there are many more species to be discovered,” she reasoned.
At the core of Corbion’s message, sustainability plays a crucial role. Franco explains that the company will look beyond its incubator business over the next few years, and pet food is a critical area where Corbion will advance. “Particularly within our nutrition business, we’re building that business to serve both animal and human exhaustion. We now have a dedicated portfolio for each segment as we continue our journey in producing alternative omega-3s.”
By Elizabeth Green
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